What is Acupuncture Good For?

            Acupuncture is a modality that uses hair-thin needles at strategic points on the body that can treat a wide variety of conditions addressing the mind, body, and spirit. People may seek acupuncture for a multitude of reasons. As you can imagine, this is very attractive to many patients who may have tried everything else to no avail or want a more natural approach to care for their ailments. Additionally, it is not a one-size-fits-all experience, as each & every patient is treated with carefully chosen acupuncture points to promote a healing effect based on their constitution. However, there are some issues that many patients seek acupuncture for, and are seen commonly across the board by a multitude of licensed acupuncturists.

Top 5 Conditions Acupuncture is Good For

Without further ado, we will explore the top 5 conditions patients seek acupuncture for.

Top 5 conditions patients seek acupuncture treatment for:

  • Back Pain – back pain by far takes the prize for biggest physical pain issue acupuncturists see in their offices. Since our backs carry so much, whether that be material things like backpacks or heavy luggage, extra body weight, slumping over at a computer in a cubicle, or constantly slouching to look at our cell phones, our spine can only do so much for so long to balance us out. Our back muscles attempt to compensate for the strain we put on it, but add in the daily stress of day-to-day, and you end up with back pain.

  • Stress – another big contender for most sought-after condition to treat here in the United States. The world today is a very on the go, fast paced, need things done yesterday kind of world which puts a lot of pressure on people at large. Not to mention the tension we put on ourselves to meet these demands.

  • Neck Pain – much like our back, our neck carries so much of our tension. In the terms of traditional Chinese medicine, there is usually a blockage in the liver channel, which builds up in the neck & shoulders from stress. Electroacupuncture is a great way to treat this condition as well as manual acupuncture.

  • Anxiety & Depression – most often these conditions are brought to acupuncturists who have either tried everything without success, or those who want to address their anxiety and depression without medication. Many times, patients may already be on psychiatric medication and want to wean off of it or use acupuncture in conjunction so that their dose is decreased.

    In terms of traditional Chinese medicine, the heart holds the Shen (spirit), and when the Shen is disturbed, the heart becomes restless. Once you find a licensed acupuncturist, it is their job to help heal & reconnect with the heart. Basically, we want to remind the body in these conditions that homeostasis is possible, and reengage the parasympathetic nervous system.

  • Fertility – acupuncture can increase the number of follicles produced, decrease the side effects of IVF medications, reduce stress, and help thicken the endometrial lining. These benefits of acupuncture for fertility help to prepare the uterus, (known as the “child’s palace” in TCM) and the female reproductive system.  Many studies are conducted on acupuncture for fertility to evaluate to the efficiency of acupuncture alone & alongside IVF treatments to enhance results.

There are many other conditions that acupuncture can treat outside of those listed above. Even though the following conditions aren’t on the above list of five, they are still very common conditions one is seen for like other types of musculoskeletal pain, headaches, sleep apnea, food cravings/weight loss, smoking, digestive issues, cold/flu, menstruation/menopause, carpal tunnel, constipation, addiction, and many more.

Top 5 Reasons to Try Acupuncture

            While there are many conditions that acupuncture treats, there are a ton of benefits along with treating the condition to boot! Many patients say they feel relief for many of their conditions even after the first session, but the real kicker are the health benefits throughout the body that allow the results of treatment to last long after your session ends.

Top 5 reasons/benefits to try acupuncture:

  • Relaxation – as we stated above, the world we live in today is so non-stop that it’s rare to find a person in the United States who isn’t stressed out on some level. It seems as though there are just not enough hours in the day to “have it all” with family, work, and trying to fit in self-care. Due to this, most of us are operating in a constant high stress state, and therefore damaging our bodies because of it. Acupuncture relaxes the nervous system, and brings it back to the parasympathetic nervous system instead of operating from the sympathetic (fight or flight).  Acupuncture treatment promotes feelings of relaxation during and after each session.

  • Sleep – acupuncture treatment is known to improve sleep. As many of us know, lack of sleep is destructive to one’s quality of life and has considerable health consequences.  Sleeping pills, which many turn to when they have trouble sleeping can be habit forming & lead to other issues like sleep walking, sleep eating, and can even potentially cause long-term cognitive decline depending on the medication.

  • Boost the Immune System – in traditional Chinese medicine there is something called “Wei Qi” which is the protective energy barrier that keeps our immune systems strong against different types of pathogens. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs help to strengthen “Wei Qi” to expel pathogens from the body ultimately to prevent illness and speed up recovery time.

  • Boost Energy – fatigue is another big condition that patients are seen for in the daily life of a licensed acupuncturist. Let’s face it, as we’ve already seen with other issues above, we, in the United States, tend to burn the candle at both ends with our high stress lives trying to do it all. We touched on the idea of “qi” or energy above, and when a person is tired, in traditional Chinese medicine they are “deficient in qi.” This can be due to many factors, anything from stress & emotions to improper diet & too little exercise. Acupuncture allows for an energy boost in a balanced and sustained way.

  • All Natural – there is no hiding the fact that the United States has been in a rather big opioid crisis in the last several years. There has been an over prescribing of opiate medications leading to addiction to them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2017 there were over 70,000 drug overdose deaths in the United states, and 47,000 of those deaths were from prescription opioids. The good news, is that due to alternative treatments like acupuncture becoming more mainstream, overdose deaths has slowed from 21% from 2015-2016 to 10% from 2016-2017.

As with the top 5 conditions, there are far more benefits to acupuncture treatment than the five listed here. The benefits of acupuncture are truly endless. In addition to the above benefits, acupuncture can also improve your mood, improve your digestion, and improve your health as a whole.

Why Get Acupuncture?

After your licensed acupuncturist has helped you recover from the condition that brought you to them, think of regular acupuncture treatments as a “tune up” for the body to keep it functioning as it should. Those patients that come in regularly for these “tune up” visits preventatively, usually have an increased sense of well-being.  Using acupuncture as a preventative medicine is the real game-changer for regular patients, and is worth exploring for those who are new to the treatment.

Now that acupuncture is becoming more mainstream, it is a better time than ever to give it a try if you have been debating it. According to a study in 2018, there are 37,886 licensed acupuncturists in the United States, lending more opportunity new patients to give acupuncture a try.

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